The grieving family of the late George Floyd has hired Dr. Michael Baden, the former medical examiner of New York City, to conduct a separate, independent autopsy after the Hennepin County Medical Examiner in Minneapolis, Minnesota released a preliminary autopsy report Friday declaring Floyd didn't die from strangulation or asphyxiation.
Instead, the city coroner blames Floyd's death on a combination of heart disease, potential intoxicants in his system and from being restrained by three police officers of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).
"The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," said a statement from the coroner. The statement said Floyd had underlying health conditions such as coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. What killed Floyd were the combined effects of his being restrained by police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system.
The finding is squarely at odds with widely-viewed videos of Floyd's arrest on May 25 showing MPD officer Derek Chauvin pressing his left knee on Floyd's neck. The autopsy report said Chauvin kept choking and kneeling on Floyd for close to nine minutes despite Floyd repeatedly saying "I can't breathe," and "Please, the knee in my neck, I can't breathe." Floyd later begs Chauvin, "Don't kill me!"
The handcuffed Floyd was on his stomach and was also being held down by two other police officers. Chauvin didn't remove his knee from Floyd's neck even after one of the officers told him Floyd no longer had a pulse. He only did so two minutes later after Floyd had died and was gushing blood from his nose.
Floyd, 46, was an African-American who was arrested for buying cigarettes with a fake $20 bill. His death on Memorial Day has triggered a wave of protests and riots in major cities across the United States since Tuesday. On Thursday evening and into Friday morning, angry crowd were trying to force their way closer to the White House in the face of opposition from local police and the Secret Service. Minneapolis, which is where the national unrest began, is seeing widespread looting, break-ins and criminal activity exploiting the legitimate street protests.
The stunning finding by the Minneapolis coroner is being widely assailed as another police cover-up and a blatant attempt to whitewash another murder involving a white American police officer. In response to the coroner's findings, the shocked Floyd family said it does not trust anything from the MPD. Dr. Baden said he'll be in Minneapolis Saturday and will reveal his results next week.
Ben Crump and S. Lee Merritt, the Floyd family lawyers, requested the second, independent autopsy. They claim the findings from the county medical examiner aims to create an illusion of underlying health conditions being responsible for Floyd's death.
Dr. Baden conducted an independent autopsy on Eric Garner, whose death in 2014 while being choked by New York Police Department Officer Daniel Panteleo was also captured on video. Garner kept gasping, "I can't breathe," before he died. Panteleo wasn't criminally charged but fired from his job in 2019.
Chauvin, who was fired from his job Tuesday, was arrested Friday and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. Both charges mean Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman believes Chauvin didn't intentionally take Floyd's life.
Minnesota law states murder in the third degree is committed when there isn't intent or premeditation. A person that fired a gun into a crowd will typically be charged with third degree murder in Minnesota. Minnesota's sentencing guidelines recommend 12-1/2 years for a conviction on a murder count. It recommends four years on a manslaughter charge. Freeman has recommended Chauvin face a maximum sentence of 35 years for both charges or pay a fine. Chauvin's bail has been set at $500,000.
Meghan McCain, daughter of the late senator John McCain, was outraged enough by the Minneapolis coroner's findings to tweet George Floyd's family must demand an independent autopsy. She said she doesn't know what kind of shit is attempting to be pulled here but we all know what we saw happen to George on video. There is a deep, festering rot of corruption and Americans will NOT stand for this.
One person tweeted about the coroner's findings: OMG! Autopsy report absolves Derek Chauvin!
The Floyd family also wants the three other MPD officers with Chauvin to be criminally charged. These officers are Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng. The trio was fired from their jobs Tuesday but haven't been arrested or charged for Floyd's death. Thao was sued for excessive use of force in 2017 and settled out of court. Freeman said he will file charges against Lane, Thao and Kueng at a later date.